Beaumont Health Center in Royal Oak has opened a cardiovascular clinic to improve the performance of those who participate in the growing popularity of high-intensity sports and exercise programs, while reducing health risks.
The clinic — among the first of its kind in Michigan — comes alongside the increasing number of participants in marathons, half-marathons, triathlons, and extreme sports. In 1976, 25,000 Americans participated in marathons. In 2010, that number jumped to 2 million.
“Exercise both protects and provokes cardiovascular events,” says Dr. Justin Trivax, a cardiologist and co-medical director at the new clinic. Trivax says in 2009, three runners died of heart-related problems during the Detroit Free Press Marathon. He says to reduce the cardiac complications in such settings, the clinic provides specialized heart screening, counseling, and training for athletes.
“In the last 20 years, remarkable technological advances and increased knowledge of the effects of prolonged strenuous exercise, including distance running, triathlons, cycling, swimming, and paddling, have allowed us to provide athletes with an accurate assessment of their fitness,” says Dr. Harold Friedman, cardiologist and co-medical director at the clinic. “Of special interest, is heart-lung fitness. We now have the tools to offer each athlete who undergoes our core examination a prescription to safely improve their physical performance.”
A basic screening includes a cardiovascular history and physical with a cardiologist, as well as:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Echocardiogram, or ultrasound image of the heart, to assess cardiac function and screen for structural abnormalities
- Cardiopulmonary exercise stress testing with direct measurement of aerobic capacity
- Consultations focusing on fitness performance and healthy eating.
The core examination, which costs $300, may include additional evaluations, including coronary calcium scoring, heart and vascular screenings, body composition assessments, and nutritional consultations.